The marketplace is awash these days with a bewildering array of detoxification products. As well as the herbal and nutritional formulations being used for this purpose, homeopathy also has a significant role to play here, and there are a number of different levels at which homeopathic medicines can act to provide a significant detoxification or drainage effect.
Some traditional Homeopaths may see the detoxification issue as irrelevant, as the correctly prescribed single homeopathic medicine should provide all of the assistance required to effect a cure. This may be true, but situations frequently arise within the single remedy prescribing environment that call for drainage, either miasmatic or otherwise. Some of history’s greatest homeopaths have made a habit of using drainage remedies prior to the application of the single remedy, as a means of accelerating and improving the depth of action of the subsequent prescription.
Drainage remedies are not normally prescribed on the basis of the totality of symptoms, and therefore are not homeopathic per se. They can be targeted to a particular organ, or targeted at a group of substances, or they can be targeted at a specific chemical or material that may be involved in the pathology.
One point that should be mentioned here, is that it’s not toxins themselves that are the problem, but the way in which our bodies process these materials. So the further one gets from a wholistic or constitutional prescription, or one which has the capacity to improve that processing method, the less curative the prescription is likely to be.
What are toxins?
Toxins is a general term given to accumulated waste products. These can generally be divided into three distinct groups:
1. Exogenous wastes- such as those ingested (chemical wastes derived from foods or drug therapy etc) or inhaled.
2. Endogenous wastes- such as those produced by bacteria, viruses or the body’s reaction to them (pus, etc) or those produced by normal metabolism.
3. Autogenous wastes- These relate to an individual’s genetic or miasmatic potential for generating particular kinds of wastes that have an affinity for particular varieties of tissue, such as can be seen in situations such as arthritis.
How are toxins involved in disease?
Many if not most disease processes occur either as a direct result of, or are aggravated by, accumulated wastes, which may have been processed by the body in an inappropriate manner. Commonly accepted examples of gross toxicity can be found in the liver in persons suffering from jaundice, and in the gastrointestinal tract with constipation. More subtle toxin accumulation can reduce the efficiency of a vast array of physiological activities by altering intracellular and extracellular pH and disturbing the functions of numerous enzymatic and other reactions. Acute symptoms such as fevers and inflammation may be seen as attempts to rid the body of toxic materials. Chronic diseases such as the arthritides and many skin conditions, may reflect a self-generated or inherited inability to remove wastes from the affected area, and often the autogenous wastes that these processes create can contribute to and prolong the disease.
Why should homeopathy be considered?
Carefully selected homeopathic remedies are particularly useful in cases where a blockage exists to the normal detoxification processes, or there appears to be an impediment to the normal flow of vitality through the area in question. Homeopathy has distinct advantages over some other methods of detoxification:
- Homeopathic remedies contain only minute amounts of physical material, therefore do not constitute a metabolic load, and hence do not slow down detoxification by further congestion of the detoxification organs.
- Homeopathic remedies, because they work on energetic rather than biochemical principles, are able to detoxify specific body systems without affecting unrelated physiological systems, resulting in reduced energy expenditure.
- Specific organs, groups of toxins and specific toxins are able to be targeted with homeopathic medicines.
When is detoxification necessary?
Any condition which is either chronic in its nature, or fails to respond to treatment within a reasonable period of time, should be subject to detoxification. A detoxification remedy would be wasted for example on an acute inflammatory process. But if that inflammatory process became entrenched and failed to respond to remedial measures which would normally be expected to correct the problem, then there is a definite case for the use of a detoxification remedy.
Detoxification should also be considered (once the possibility for any serious pathology has been excluded) in cases where there is a chronic lack of vitality, the person in question suffers from continual infections and is susceptible to almost every common disease trigger, multiple allergies, continual headaches or digestive disorders, or chronic skin or respiratory disorders.
How detoxification should be performed is largely a matter of clinical judgement, however as a general rule detoxification should be performed for 2 to 4 weeks, and if any other treatment is required, it should be performed after detoxification has been performed.
What types of detoxification remedies can be used?
- Organ drainage remedies
These consist of such things as Chelidonium for the liver, Apis for the right kidney, Berberis vulgaris for the left kidney, Phosphorus for the lungs, Strophanthus for the heart, Adonis for the veins, Ceonathus for the spleen, Syzygium for the pancreas (especially the Islet cells), Pilocarpus for the parotid glands, Baryta iodata for the glands, Sulphur for the skin and so on. These remedies are normally used in low potency, 6C for example, and taken twice daily.
Material specific drainage remedies
These remedies may cover specific groups of materials- for example, Benzoic acid for the drainage of acid materials, Silica for metallic materials, Nux vomica for stimulants and fat soluble materials such as drugs and other chemicals, Arsenicum album for food based toxins, Thuja for vaccine materials, Cadmium sulph for chemotherapy drugs.
Specific materials may also be used isopathically for drainage. Substances such as Mercury in homeopathic potency may be used to drain mercury from the body, Plumbum metallicum may help to remove lead, Ferrum metallicum can be used to remove iron, and other metals such as copper, aluminium and zinc may be dealt with in the same way. These materials are normally used in 15C potency, one dose being given once or twice daily depending on the nature of the toxicity.
The primary references for the study of homeopathic detoxification are:
1. Maury EA, Drainage in Homoeopathy, Health Science Press, Essex, England, 1982.
Bouko Levy MM, Homeopathic and Drainage Repertory, Editions Similia, France, 1992 ISBN –2-904928-70-7.
For more on organ drainage remedies see
2. Gunavante SM, Introduction to Homoeopathic Prescribing, 4th Ed, B Jain, India, 1990.
Specifically, p 289-91, “Organopathic Remedies”.
3. Burt WH, Physiological Materia Medica, 3rd Ed, B Jain, India, 1987.
Specifically, p11-16, “Classification According to Tissues”.
For more on the drainage of specific materials see:
4. Murphy R, Homoeopathic Medical Repertory, 2nd Ed, HANA Press, USA, 1998
Specifically, p1857- 65, Chapter 66, “Toxicity”